CSKA shreds Baskonia in Game 1
CSKA Moscow began the playoffs with a convincing 94-68 victory over KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz in Game 1 of their best-of-five series on Tuesday evening at Megasport Arena in the Russian capital. It was a 1-point game early in the third quarter before Sergio Rodriguez and Nikita Kurbanov each hit back-to-back three-pointers as the hosts took control for good. The victory was CSKA's 15th in a row over Baskonia in Moscow dating back to 2005. Rodriguez led the CSKA attack with 19 points and 5 assists. Cory Higgins added 12 points, Nando De Colo scored 11 and Kurbanov and Will Clyburn netted 10 points apiece. All 12 CSKA players scored at least 3 points. Shavon Shields paced Baskonia's scored with 17 points and Vincent Poirier and Darrun Hilliard scored 12 points each.
The first basket of the playoffs came from the hands of Poirier before Higgins got CSKA going with a three-pointer. The teams traded baskets and a Poirier tip-in left them even at 9-9 at the first TV timeout. Clyburn's steal and layup gave CSKA the first two-possession lead of the game, 21-17, but Matt Janning came off the bench after a missing more than a month through injury to nail a triple for Baskonia. Hilliard free throws lifted Baskonia to a 23-24 edge after 10 minutes. De Colo made his mark with a deep three to beat the shot clock and a pair of free throws as CSKA climbed in front 30-26. Shields scored twice in a 0-7 Baskonia run to take a 32-35 advantage. Rodriguez heated up with 5 quick points as CSKA regained the lead. Higgins's three-point play lifted CSKA to a 44-40 halftime edge.
Back-to-back three-pointers by Rodriguez early in the second half put the hosts up 50-43. Despite the best efforts of Shields, CSKA took control as Kurbanov struck twice from behind the arc for the game's first double-digit lead, 58-47. A Baskonia timeout changed little as Clyburn added a three before Higgins capped an 11-0 CSKA run with free throws that made it 63-47. A Joel Bolomboy three-pointer extended the margin to 73-52 through three quarters. Baskonia did not throw in the towel and scored the first 5 points of the fourth quarter through a Marcelinho Huertas three-pointer and a Poirier slam. However, a jumper by De Colo and an offensive foul by Shields that fouled him out doomed the visitors. CSKA played with confidence the rest of the way while breaking out a few showtime passes to seal a convincing Game 1 win.
Shavon Shields opened the third quarter with a three-pointer that drew Baskonia within 44-43, but that was as close as the visitors would get the rest of the way. Sergio Rodriguez connected on back-to-back three-pointers and shortly after Nikita Kurbanov highlighted an 11-0 CSKA run with a pair of triples. By the time the third quarter reached its midway points, CSKA had completed a 19-4 tear to lead by 16 and cruised the rest of the way.
CSKA dominated from behind the arc with 13 three-pointers made from 23 tries (56.5%). Eight different CSKA players knocked down threes with Sergio Rodriguez leading the way with 5 threes from 6 shots. In contrast, Baskonia was 8 for 29 (27.6%) from deep and only one player (Darrun Hilliard) made multiple threes.
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Despite the result, Vincent Poirier accomplished a historic feat early in the game. His first-quarter tip-in gave him 101 offensive rebounds for the season and thus broke his tie with Anadolu Efes Istanbul center Bryant Dunston for the most in a single season in competition history. Dunston set the record in the 2016-17 season. Poirier finished the game with 104 and still has at least two more games to pad the record.
Tuesday, April 16, 2019